Bringing out your best in the most important games is what differentiates a great player from a superstar and this is what Shane Larkin has done in his three seasons with Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Larkin averaged 29.5 points and a PIR of 33.5 in the 2019 Final Four, even though it was not enough for Efes to go all the way and it lost in the championship game against CSKA Moscow.
Larkin and Efes returned to the Final Four in 2021 to face CSKA in the semifinals. He contributed 11 points in over 19 minutes off the bench. Larkin took over with a critical driving layup to give Efes an 82-87 lead in the next-to-last minute and sealed the outcome from the foul line.
After a subpar effort based on his standards, Larkin bounced back in one of the biggest games of his career. He set a new championship game record for most free throws made without a miss (12). Larkin tallied 21 points, 3 assists and 10 fouls drawn for a PIR of 28. He had 8 points in the second quarter in helping Efes overcome a double-digit deficit and scored 7 more in the final 7 minutes, including the go-ahead, off-balance three-point play that put his team ahead for good, 72-75. Larkin grabbed the game's final rebound and exploded with joy, hugging every teammate and staff member available.
In his time with Efes, the club won 70.8% of the games Larkin played (68-28) and he scored the second-most point in the league over that span. It had been a long process, but Larkin and his teammates achieved their goal and could finally claim that they were Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions!